BEIRUT (AP) — Foreign policy analysts say a major dilemma is emerging for the West as it deals with Syria -- if President Bashar Assad is overthrown, there may not be an attractive alternative.
The Assad family has ruled Syria since 1970, holding the country's rival ethnic and religious groups together with sometimes brutal force. Experts say toppling Assad could lead to further anarchy and break the country into enclaves ruled by heavily armed warlords. Joshua Landis from the University of Oklahoma says the most likely scenario would be "chaos and banditry."
Syria's political opposition is largely operating from exile and has been hobbled by infighting, while Inside Syria, rebels and Islamic radicals fighting alongside them have also come to blows at times.